Shinji Nakaba (previously) is a master of carving carefully into miniature objects, creating skulls and other anatomical forms from pearls no larger than the end of a finger tip. Nakaba considers these works “wearable sculptures,” as each pearl takes the form of a ring, necklace, or pin. Although he uses precious metals and stones for his high-end jewelry, he is not against mixing in more common materials. Nakaba has been known to also incorporate aluminum from beer cans and trimmings from plastic bottles.
“I’m dealing with all materials equally no matter how precious they are,” said Nakaba. “I bring out their hidden talents and beauty and they are being re-born as treasure.”
You can see more of his wearable works on his online shop.
In the early 1970s a man named Bruno (previously) started building simple rides in a forested area in northern Italy near his family’s restaurant in an attempt to attract customers. Osteria ai Pioppi is now a sprawling complex of nearly 50 rides powered completely by hand with pulleys, bicycle cranks, and gravity, and is now a major destination for locals and tourists to Battaglia. Talk about a novel approach to advertising. Bruno refers to the theme park as an “ecological park” and says he’s often inspired by movements or patterns found in nature which he tries to replicate in his wildly varied rides. This new video from Great Big Story gives us a quick glimpse of the many rides Bruno has built from hand over the last 40 years.
The mechanics for creating a basic hand-cranked toy automata aren’t particularly complex. A few pieces of wood, a crank, and a some bent wires and it’s possible to produce some basic movements. However designer Dave Hall takes things to an entirely different level with his ludicrously complex contraptions that move dozens of interconnected parts with the help of a single crank. His latest piece depicts a man riding a quirky kangaroo accompanied by a trusty cat clutching a fish surrounded by numerous birds and flowers. Hall works out of his house and claims to not even have a studio or work with special tools with the exception of a dremel. You can see more of his automata creations on his website. (via Hi-Fructose)
Starting out as a jeweler in a retail store, Michael Tatom began carving stone on the side in his brother’s studio. Tatom became fascinated with creating animal forms, especially the details needed to perfect each creature’s muscle definition. Tatom then moved on to casting the forms in bronze, and at the request of his wife started the online store of beasts and beauty. He has now transitioned to producing his animal rings, bracelets, and pendants nearly full-time and often takes requests for custom orders. A recent project gave him the chance to cast the shape of the rare pangolin in the form of a silver ring. You can see more of Tatom’s foxes, wolves, and cats on his Etsy. (via Bored Panda)
LEGO designers have developed a new flashback kit, an advanced model that replicates many of the iconic elements of a vintage 1960 Volkswagon Beetle. Built using 1,167 pieces, the bright blue replica has several operational features, including a pop-up hood and truck, flip-down seats, and a removable roof to peep the steering wheel and other accessories found inside.
Designers made sure not to leave out any detail, including a model of the original 4-cylinder air-cooled engine, fuel tank, rounded mudguards, interchangeable license plates, and tiny window decals. On the roof of the vehicle, LEGO also added a rack that fits a tiny surfboard and cooler containing ice and bottled drinks. In total, the new kit is 15 centimeters high, 29 centimeters long, and 12 centimeters wide. You can learn more about the details of the kit in the video below before it becomes available to the public on July 17. (via Designboom)
Cypriot-based designer Stelios Mousarris conceived of this fun glass tabletop that blasts into the air aboard five wooden rockets. The designer was inspired by the nostalgia of his own childhood toy collection and he tried to embody the “retro” look with cartoon-like puffs of clouds at the base of each rocket. The table combines a variety of techniques from 3D printing to lathe work, and each rocket position is customizable. The piece is currently available for pre-order through his website. (via NOTCOT)